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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Inslee signs bill to give tax relief to those rebuilding after natural disaster

UPDATED: Mon., May 3, 2021

OLYMPIA – Malden residents and others in Washington affected by wildfires can now get some property tax relief when rebuilding their homes.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Monday that provides some tax exemptions for those rebuilding or improving a single-family home damaged by a natural disaster. Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, sponsored the bill after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied individual assistance to Whitman County following devastating wildfires last Labor Day.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 97-1 in the House. Only Rep. Amy Walen, D-Kirkland, voted against it.

“It’s something that everyone understood could happen to their community,” Schoesler told The Spokesman-Review in March.

The bill has expanded since Schoesler’s initial introduction. It now exempts physical improvements to a single-family home damaged by any natural disaster from property tax for three years following the completion of the improvement.

To qualify, the home must be located in an area declared a disaster by the governor or county legislative authority and reduced in value by more than 20% as a result of the disaster.

The taxpayer who is rebuilding must apply for the exemption before construction. Those who began construction before the bill goes into effect in July can still qualify but must apply for it by Oct. 1, according to the bill.

No one can apply for the exemption after June 30, 2026, according to the bill.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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